SNP business minister: employers should allow four-day weeks

Employers could increase Scotland's productivity and motivation among staff by introducing flexible working including four-day weeks, business and fair work minister Jamie Hepburn MSP, has said.

Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 2:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 4:36 pm

Employers could increase Scotland’s productivity and motivation among staff by introducing flexible working including four-day weeks, business and fair work minister Jamie Hepburn MSP, has said.

Mr Hepburn said he wanted employers, to follow the lead of Advice Direct Scotland, (ADS)which provides free independent advice at its contact centres in Glasgow and Stornoway, and which recently introduced a four-day week for all staff, resulting in them earning the same salary while working fewer hours.

He said the Scottish Government is committed to creating a more flexible workforce.

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Minister Jamie Hepburn. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

“Flexible and agile working has been found to increase motivation and business productivity, as workers experience an improved work-life balance which brings wider benefits to our economy,” Mr Hepburn said.

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“There can be many different approaches to delivering effective flexible working depending on the size and nature of the organisation. I applaud Advice Direct Scotland in introducing a four-day week and would encourage all employers to follow their lead by adopting the starting position that any job can be done flexibly.”

David Rutherford, quality and compliance manager at ADS, said: “Introducing a four-day working week has brought us major benefits.

“It has increased productivity and motivation, with staff enjoying a better work-life balance.

“We believe it is important that all workers are positive about their job and look forward to coming to work.

“The four-day week has given people more time to do what they enjoy, such as spending more time with their family, and it has created a really positive atmosphere in the office as a result.

“We would encourage companies and organisations to examine the benefits of flexible working.”

Ude Joe-Adigwe, regional organiser for GMB Scotland, said working hours needed to reflect workers’ lifestyle in the 21st century.

“Working patterns need to be in step with how we work now. Society and communities have evolved over the years.

“People have all sorts of responsibilities from childcare to caring for elderly relatives to attending medical appointments which they cannot always fit in during the standard working week.”

Mr Joe-Adigwe added: “Employers might even find having a more flexible week helps alleviate stress and sickness levels.”